Reflection on The Household of God

The Household of God is obviously a work written to challenge every settled ecclesial position in the middle of the twentieth century. It challenges Protestants, Catholics, Pentecostals, "nondenominationals" (who fall basically into the Protestant camp), individualists, "apathetics" who view ecclesiology as a matter of indifference, and shallow ecumenists who think that church unity is something we can arrive at by holding hands and getting along.

Moreover, it challenges not just by asserting Newbigin's opinion, but by grounding that opinion in the sensibilities of the very tradition being challenged.

For this assignment I want you to consider the following scenario:

Imagine that you are somewhere — at church, home for the weekend, doing your ministry service, or somewhere on campus — that brings you into contact with a Christian leader you know. You are a little behind on your schoolwork, so you have brought along your copy of The Household of God. (It's so compact and inexpensive!) The leader sees it, picks it up, reads the blurbs on the back cover, and gets interested. "I think I'll read this," the person tells you. "Hey — since you've been talking about it in class, and since you know about what we're doing here, e-mail me an introduction to it that tells me what you think about it and shows what it has to teach me and my organization. I'm too busy to read everything I should, so I often ask people to do things like that for me, and it really helps. Thanks!"

Write that introduction in the form of a personal letter. Evaluate The Household of God in terms of its potential impact on that leader's ministry.

You are, in effect, giving a written presentation to that leader that (very briefly) summarizes and (at greater length) comments on the work. You might support Newbigin's points, or you might object to them. (Either way, offer reasons, not just impressions.) The point is to write something the leader and his or her ministry will find useful. While you may concentrate on one aspect or section of the book, be careful to appreciate it in the context of Newbigin's whole argument.

Your tone can be casual and intimate, but it must be well written. Please keep your paper three pages, double-spaced, and follow the directions in my handout for writing papers.

Remember, I want to see proper style, clear writing, a thorough answer to the question, and explicit citations of course materials.

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